The man who began all this street fighting was a Frenchman—Eugène Delacroix. While still a youth he was bullied, and the bully was such a redoubtable giant that it took somebody with the grit and genius of Delacroix to tackle him, but tackle him he did. The story of the fight, which is a long and glorious one, is so admirably told in Madame Bussy's life of Delacroix, that I have obtained permission to give the essence of it in her own words.

In the Salon of 1822 was exhibited Delacroix's picture of Dante and Virgil, which is now in the Louvre, and evoked the first of those clamours of abuse which were barely stilled before the artist's death. For nearly thirty years all French painters, with the exception of Gros and Prudhon; had shown themselves unquestioning disciples of the school founded by Jacques Louis David, whose masterful character and potent personality had reduced all art to a system; and Delacroix himself spoke of him with sympathy and admiration. The chief dogma of David's school was that the nearest approach to the beau idealpermitted to the human race had been attained by the Greeks, and that all art must conform as closely as possible to theirs. Unfortunately, the chief specimens of Greek art known at that time were those belonging to a decadent period—neither the Elgin marbles nor the Venus of Milo were accessible before 1816—so that the works from which they drew their inspiration were without character in themselves, or merely the feeble and attenuated copies of ancient Rome. In the pictures of this school, accordingly, we find only the monotonous perfection of rounded and well-modelled limbs, classical features and straight noses. Colour, to the sincere Davidian, was a vain and frivolous accessory, serving only to distract attention from the real purpose of the work, which was to aim at moral elevation as well as at ideal beauty. Everything in the picture was to be equally dwelt upon; there was no sacrifice, no mystery. "These pictures," says Delacroix, "have no epidermis ...they lack the atmosphere, the lights, the reflections which blend into an harmonious whole, objects the most dissimilar in colour."

By the untimely death of Géricault, whose Raft of the Medusa had already caused a flutter in 1819, Delacroix was left at the head of the revolt against this pseudo-classicism; and amid the storm that greeted the Dante and Virgil it is interesting to find Thiers writing of him in the following strain:—"It seems to me that no picture [in the Salon] reveals the future of a great painter better than M. Delacroix's, in which we see an outbreak of talent, a burst of rising superiority which revives the hopes that had been slightly discouraged by the too moderate merits of all the rest.... I think I am not mistaken; M. Delacroix has genius; let him go on with confidence, and devote himself to immense labour, the indispensable condition of talent." Delécluze, by the by, the critic-in-chief of the Davidian School, had characterised the picture as une véritable tartouillade.

In 1824 the Salon included two pictures which may be regarded as important documents in the history of painting. One of these was Constable's Hay Wain—now

Louvre, Paris

in our National Gallery—which had been purchased by a Frenchman; the other was Delacroix's Massacre of Scio, the first to receive the enlightenment afforded by the Englishman's methods, which spread so widely over the French School. It was said that Delacroix entirely repainted his picture on seeing Constable's; but his pupil, Lassalle Bordes, is probably nearer the truth in saying that the master being dissatisfied with its general tone, which was too chalky, transformed it by means of violent glazings. The critics were no less noisy over this picture than the last. "A painter has been revealed to us," said one, "but he is a man who runs along the housetops." "Yes," answered Baudelaire, "but for that one must have a sure foot, and an eye guided by an inward light."

When the Salon opened again in 1827, after an interval of three years, the public were astonished to find how large a number of painters had abandoned Davidism and openly joined the ranks of the enemy. Delacroix himself exhibited the Marino Faliero (now at Hertford House) and eleven others. The gauntlet was flung down, and war began in deadly earnest between the opposing parties. It was at this time that the terms Romanticism and Romantic came into common use. Delacroix always resented being labelled as a Romantic, and would only acknowledge that the term might be justly applied to him when used in its widest signification. "If by my Romanticism," he wrote, "is meant the free expression of my personal impressions, my aversion from the stereotypes invariably produced in the schools, and my repugnance to academic receipts, then I must admit I am Romantic."

Here we have the plain truth about the painting of the nineteenth century—and after! The critics were unanimous in their violent condemnation of Delacroix's works: "the compositions of a sick man in delirium," "the fanaticism of ugliness," "barbarous execution," "an intoxicated broom"—such are some of the terms of abuse showered upon him. The gentlest among them commiserate the talent which here and there can be seen "struggling with the systematic bizarrerie and the disordered technique of the artist, just as gleams of reason and sometimes flashes of genius may be seen pitiably shining through the speech of a madman." The final touch to Delacroix's disgrace was given by the Directeur des Beaux Arts sending for him and recommending him to study drawing from casts, warning him at the same time that unless he could change his style he must expect neither commissions nor recognition from the State!

The year 1830 has given its name to that brilliant generation of poets, novelists, painters and philosophers which, as Théophile Gautier says with just pride, "will make its mark on the future and be spoken of as one of the climacteric epochs of the human mind." The revolution of July inspired Delacroix with one of his most interesting pictures. Le 28 Juillet is the only one of his works in which he depicts modern life, and was a striking refutation to those who complained that modern costume is too ugly or prosaic to be treated in painting. "Every old master," Baudelaire usefully pointed out, "has been modern in his day. The greater number of fine portraits of former times are dressed in the costume of their period. They are perfectly harmonious because the costumes, the hair, and even the attitude and expression (each period has its own), form a whole of complete vitality." Le 28 Juillet gives us the very breath and spirit of modern street fighting. Though the public

National Gallery, London

remained hostile and the jury bestowed none of its prizes, as before, the Government acknowledged the artist's talent and politics by making him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Further, from 1833 to 1853 he was intermittently employed in decorating the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, and other public buildings. In 1855 he showed at the Great Exhibition a series of thirty-five of his most important pictures, the effect of which was immense. For the first and only time in his life he enjoyed a triumph, none the less great because his life-long rival Ingres also took the opportunity of exhibiting a selection of his works in the same building. But in spite of this success, and in spite of his being elected an Academician in 1857, the critics remained incorrigible. His pictures in the Salon of 1859 once more called forth one of those storms of abuse that Delacroix had the gift of arousing. Weary and disheartened—"All my life long I have been livré aux bêtes," was his bitter exclamation—he vowed to exhibit no more, and kept his word.